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Trugman, DT, Shearer PM, Borsa AA, Fialko Y.  2016.  A comparison of long-term changes in seismicity at The Geysers, Salton Sea, and Coso geothermal fields. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 121:225-247.   10.1002/2015jb012510   AbstractWebsite

Geothermal energy is an important source of renewable energy, yet its production is known to induce seismicity. Here we analyze seismicity at the three largest geothermal fields in California: The Geysers, Salton Sea, and Coso. We focus on resolving the temporal evolution of seismicity rates, which provides important observational constraints on how geothermal fields respond to natural and anthropogenic loading. We develop an iterative, regularized inversion procedure to partition the observed seismicity rate into two components: (1) the interaction rate due to earthquake-earthquake triggering and (2) the smoothly varying background rate controlled by other time-dependent stresses, including anthropogenic forcing. We apply our methodology to compare long-term changes in seismicity to monthly records of fluid injection and withdrawal. At The Geysers, we find that the background seismicity rate is highly correlated with fluid injection, with the mean rate increasing by approximately 50% and exhibiting strong seasonal fluctuations following construction of the Santa Rosa pipeline in 2003. In contrast, at both Salton Sea and Coso, the background seismicity rate has remained relatively stable since 1990, though both experience short-term rate fluctuations that are not obviously modulated by geothermal plant operation. We also observe significant temporal variations in Gutenberg-Richter b value, earthquake magnitude distribution, and earthquake depth distribution, providing further evidence for the dynamic evolution of stresses within these fields. The differing field-wide responses to fluid injection and withdrawal may reflect differences in in situ reservoir conditions and local tectonics, suggesting that a complex interplay of natural and anthropogenic stressing controls seismicity within California's geothermal fields.

Tymofyeyeva, E, Fialko Y.  2015.  Mitigation of atmospheric phase delays in InSAR data, with application to the eastern California shear zone. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 120:5952-5963.   10.1002/2015jb011886   AbstractWebsite

We present a method for estimating radar phase delays due to propagation through the troposphere and the ionosphere based on the averaging of redundant interferograms that share a common scene. Estimated atmospheric contributions can then be subtracted from the radar interferograms to improve measurements of surface deformation. Inversions using synthetic data demonstrate that this procedure can considerably reduce scatter in the time series of the line-of-sight displacements. We demonstrate the feasibility of this method by comparing the interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) time series derived from ERS-1/2 and Envisat data to continuous Global Positioning System data from eastern California. We also present results from several sites in the eastern California shear zone where anomalous deformation has been reported by previous studies, including the Blackwater fault, the Hunter Mountain fault, and the Coso geothermal plant.